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Winning Words

Just a slight change in wording can offer way to live with piece of peace


So the other day I was reminded of something I had heard a few times before and always enjoyed as a new way to think about things. And when I heard it this time it gave me a little cause for pause because it really was just so relevant to where we are now as a culture and society.

I bring this up now because a couple of weeks ago I had written an article about happiness and joy. The column received so much raw, yet positive feedback from our community as many of you thought through the message of not just seeking happiness, but pursuing true joy or trying to find that joy again. And many lamented on the feeling that somehow the feeling of joy, even simple happiness had become lost somewhere along the way.

We are not an isolated community when it comes to this feeling. All you have to do is speak to a friend, family member, or co-worker who lives in a different part of the country or maybe even in a different part of the world and you will get the sense that too many people are living on the edge. Frustration, sadness, and even anger have substituted a place in people's lives, homes, and hearts where happiness once used to dwell.

That is why when I was reminded of this philosophy; it rang so true in our current times. What I was reminded of was this: "Anger is only one letter away from danger." Let that sink in for a minute because even though I had heard it before also, it seemed to be more important this week for me than maybe it had in the past. One letter, the letter "D," has the potential to turn an unhealthy emotion into a scary situation or event.

Perhaps we can think of other words where one letter can make a difference as well. As an example, when we are tired, sad, and frustrated and we feel like we want to cry, maybe change out the "C" in cry and replace it with a "T" for try. Try one more time, try one more path, try one more idea, or try to be more loving and kind, even in the face of the difficulties and challenges certain people or life can throw our way.

It is so very easy to become cynical and hard-hearted. I mean we can shut out the world and those closest to us, can't we? We can become irritable at home and at work and make ourselves and everyone else around us miserable. And sooner or later that hard-hearted and hard-headed thinking will end up in resentment and maybe even anger, just one letter removed from danger. And that danger can include maybe losing those we love the most.

Instead, let's change one more word by adding one more letter and removing another. I am sure you have heard someone say it in the heat of an argument, or on a TV show or in a movie at some point, "You want a piece of me?" They say it with such hostility and bravado, inviting the other person to a fight. Well, if we happen to find ourselves in such a situation, rather than asking the person if they want a piece of us, what if we asked them to find peace with us instead?

So how about you? Could you benefit from trying something new instead of crying about what's happening around you? Can you see yourself as a peacemaker instead of taking a piece out of someone else? Either way I would love to hear all about it at gotonorton@gmail.com, and when we decide to live with a piece of the peace that this world does have to offer us, and avoid the anger and danger, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.

Michael Norton


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